Buffalos lose their anonymity

Buffalos lose their anonymity

Mahidol University has come up with a new biometric identification technology that is capable of identifying individual buffalos by using their muzzle pattern.

As a buffalo's muzzle pattern is unique, it can be used to identify individuals, just as fingerprints can be used to identify a person, explained Assoc Prof Dr Worapan Kusakunniran, from the Information and Communication Technology Faculty of Mahidol University.

Dubbed "Muzzles", the application works by comparing a photograph of a buffalo's muzzle to samples stored in a cloud database -- an alternative to costly ear tags and invasive microchips.

The technology is important as it can help efforts to control the population of wild buffalos, prevent their illegal trade, and survey for communicable diseases, he said.

With funding from the Agricultural Research Development Agency, Assoc Prof Dr Worapan and his colleagues began collecting pictures of buffalo muzzles at a conservation centre in Surin back in 2018.

"Biometric identification has been used in other countries but in Thailand, we are the first team to do so," he said, adding the application has a 96% level of accuracy.

Assoc Prof Dr Worapan said his team is now working on the second version of Muzzles.

With the cooperation of True Corp and the Dairy Farming Promotion Organization of Thailand (DPO), the team plans to test Muzzles to identify cows at DPO's headquarters in Saraburi.

The team is planning to launch the second version of Muzzles in February, he said.

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